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Realme Buds Air

Realme Buds Air Review - In-ear headphones with game mode

Test report prepared by Timo on April 23, 2020

The young brand "Realme" not only wants to win the European market for itself with smartphones, but also brings the right accessories with it. One of these accessories are the Realme Buds Air, so-called true wireless headphones, which not only want to outperform the competition in terms of sound but also functionally. This test reveals whether this works.

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6.6
Our rating
31 € aliexpress.com
Price Comparison
Specifications
Overview
Manufacturer

Realme

Model

Realme Buds Air

Specifications

 General 
Driver: Dynamic driver
Size: 12 mm

Frequency range: unknown
Impedance: unknown
Sensitivity: Unknown

 Bluetooth 
Default: 5.0 BLE
Range: up to 10 meters

P
* HSP
* HFP
* A2DP
* AVRCP

codec:
* SBC
* AAC

 other 
Microphone: yes (CVC)
Operation: Touch
Battery: 2-3 hours

Size: 41 16 x x 15 mm
Weight: 4g per earphone

What's in the box

1x Realme Buds Air
1x loading box
1x USB-C Charging Cable
1x user manual

Design, workmanship and delivery

If there were a ranking for Apple AirPods clones, the Realme Buds Air would be very far ahead. Except for small deviations in detail, the design is based on the expensive branded headphones. The plastic Realme Buds Air are available in white, black and yellow. A single earphone weighs just 4 grams. The earphone head is ergonomically shaped and does not have interchangeable earmolds.

To the left of the earbuds, to the right the charging case.

The earphone head is not just a loudspeaker, but also contains a lot of sensors. The proximity sensor for carrier detection is located on the side. If you take the earbuds out of your ear, the music will automatically pause.

Touch operation takes place via the outside of the earphone head. This finally merges into a slim shaft with a noise-reducing microphone in the upper part. The two charging points and another microphone form the end of the shaft. The Realme Buds Air do not have IP certification and are not waterproof in any other way.

The charging case is also very compact and can be easily stowed in your pocket. The weight of the case including earphones is 42 grams. The earbuds hold magnetically in the charging case. The same applies to the lid, which closes magnetically. Inside the bottom of the charging case is the USB-C socket, which is used to charge the case. The front is adorned with a discreet pairing button with a status LED above it.

Realme Buds Air scope of delivery with ear buds and charging cable.

The build quality of the earphones is mediocre. One point of criticism is the seam of the earphone, which is made up of two parts. This is not only unsightly to look at, dirt also collects very quickly in it. The quality of workmanship of the charging case is again not objectionable. The scope of delivery includes the earbuds, the charging case, a USB-C charging cable and a quick guide.

Comfort

The Realme Buds Air fall under the "Semi-In-Ear" category. In contrast to conventional in-ear headphones, the earbuds only sit slightly in the ear canal. How well the Realme Buds Air hold in the ear depends heavily on the person wearing it. Due to the lack of eartips, there is no individual adjustment option. Instead, there is only one size that, according to Realme, does not cause any problems for at least most wearers.

From our own experience, the Buds Air are comfortably light in the ear. There is a certain hold, but there is no feeling of security. Jerky movements in particular quickly cause the earphones to slip and need to be readjusted. It is often the case that the touch control is triggered, which then interrupts the music playback or starts the smartphone assistant.

commissioning

The Realme Buds Air are Google Fast Pair compatible. This makes the connection process with an Android device easier. All you have to do to pair is open the charging case. Surrounding devices then receive the Fast Pair request, which can be accepted with a simple tap. The connection is established automatically without having to search for the device in the Bluetooth settings.

The connection process without Google Fast Pair is also straightforward. Open the charging case, press and hold the pairing button for 3 seconds and select the Realme Buds Air in the Bluetooth settings. The flashing green status LED indicates whether the headphones are in pairing mode.

Realme Buds Air in Apple AirPods look.

 

sound quality

Each earphone has a 12 mm driver with a liquid crystal polymer membrane built into it. Unfortunately, there is no information on frequency response, impedance and sensitivity.

Depths, mid and highs

How well a headphone sits or, in the case of in-ear headphones, seals the ear canal has a decisive impact on the sound. The semi-in-ear design of Realme Buds Air is not the best choice, especially when it comes to insulation.

This is particularly noticeable in the low frequency range, which lacks the “oomph”, so to speak. To counteract this, Realme raised the bass (Dynamic Bass Boost). Nevertheless, the Realme Buds Air do not achieve a solid bass foundation. There is a lack of depth and the bass audibly lacks precision.

The mids are shown pleasantly warm. Vocals in particular come into their own. The midrange appears a bit too harsh at high volume. The location of individual instruments is possible to a certain extent. If too much happens at once, the Realme Buds Air are quickly overwhelmed and tend to be washed out.

The high frequency range is somewhat weakened and the brilliance is a little lacking. Despite the many small construction sites, the Realme Buds Air are by no means bad-sounding in-ear headphones. A certain dynamic is conveyed and the result is a pleasant spatial image with stable location. Listening fun in everyday life is definitely provided. However, the Realme Buds Air does not meet high demands.

The 12 mm driver from Realme Buds Air.

Bluetooth

The audio processor is called "Realme R1". The chip supports the current Bluetooth 5.0 connection standard and is characterized by a particularly low latency of only 120 milliseconds. High resolution audio codecs such as aptX are not supported. Instead, you have to be content with AAC / SBC. The stable transmission range is between 8 and 10 meters.

The low latency of Realme Buds Air is understandable. Bluetooth headphones often have to cope with delays in picture-sound synchronicity. This is not the case with realme earbuds. Image and sound are synchronized, which is why the headphones are also suitable for watching films.

Gaming Mode

In order to achieve the lowest possible latency, the Realme Buds Air offer a special gaming mode. To activate, the touch field of both earbuds must be touched for a few seconds. The active gaming mode can be recognized by the sound of a starting engine. There are hardly any sound differences between the music mode and the gaming mode. However, sound dropouts can occasionally occur in gaming mode.

The Realme earbuds with oval speakers and proximity sensors.

Operation and headset

Touch control

A touch sensor is located on the outside of the earphone head that registers touches. Depending on the touch pattern, music playback (play, pause, skip) can be controlled, calls can be accepted or rejected or the smartphone assistant can be called up. It is not possible to control the volume.

In the test, the touch control proved to be reliable despite the small contact area. In 9 out of 10 cases the touch was recognized and implemented correctly.

Microphone

Each earbud is equipped with two microphones. The microphone placed at the bottom is the main microphone. The microphone located in the transition between the shaft and the earphone head is responsible for reducing noise.

The voice quality is good and background noise is effectively filtered. A slightly tinny or dull sound can be heard depending on the situation, but is largely limited.

To the left of the earbuds, to the right is the open charging case.

Accumulator

When it comes to batteries, there are good and bad approaches. The realme Buds Air's fast charging time was successful. Only 15 minutes into the charging case and the earbuds are already charged by 60 percent. A full charge takes about 25 minutes. With a full charging case, the earbuds can be charged up to four times.

The downside is the term. Here the Realme Buds Air only achieve 2 ½ to 3 hours of music playback at a time. This puts them at the lower end compared to other TWS headphones.

The charging case can be charged via USB-C (USB 2.0) or even contactless (Qi). The charging process takes about 80 minutes via USB-C and 130 minutes without contact. The LED indicator lights up in red (empty), yellow or green (full) depending on the charge level.

Price Comparison

iconEuropean warehouse
iconDelivery time 2-5 business days
31,07€
rating
Positive

Compact design
Hangs easily in the ear
Google Fast Pair
Sound with a warm character
Low latency
touch operation
Charging time of the earphones

Negative

Processing quality of earbuds
Poor outside noise insulation
Bad fit due to missing earmolds
Little draft
Mids quickly overwhelmed
Below average battery life

Summary

You have to like the design of semi-in-ears. Regardless of whether it's an expensive brand model or Realme Buds Air, the special shape of the earbuds has disadvantages. Missing earmolds also mean that the wearer cannot be adjusted. This adversely affects comfort and even the sound. In contrast to the conventional in-ear, which usually fills the ear canal, gaps arise in the semi-in-ear, which affect the overall sound.

The Realme Buds Air clearly lacks depth, which the advertised Dynamic Bass Boost does not compensate for. The mids sound pleasantly warm and full, the highs lack a bit of brilliance.

Touch control is an interesting approach. In the test, it worked surprisingly well and showed consistently high detection accuracy. The speech quality of the microphone is convincing.

There are good and bad approaches to the battery. With a total charging time of just 25 minutes, the earbuds can be charged relatively quickly. But the battery only lasts for 3 hours. There is a plus for the Qi charging option of the charging case.

6.6
Our rating
Overview
Manufacturer

Realme

Model

Realme Buds Air

Specifications

 General 
Driver: Dynamic driver
Size: 12 mm

Frequency range: unknown
Impedance: unknown
Sensitivity: Unknown

 Bluetooth 
Default: 5.0 BLE
Range: up to 10 meters

P
* HSP
* HFP
* A2DP
* AVRCP

codec:
* SBC
* AAC

 other 
Microphone: yes (CVC)
Operation: Touch
Battery: 2-3 hours

Size: 41 16 x x 15 mm
Weight: 4g per earphone

What's in the box

1x Realme Buds Air
1x loading box
1x USB-C Charging Cable
1x user manual

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